Summer’s almost here, and on our casual days we’ll be trading in pants and slacks (slacks, heh, love that word) for cute shorts and pretty skirts. Have you considered taking that extra step and slapping a faux glow on those lovely stems of yours? You definitely should! Not only will you look healthier and more fit (bonus!) with a faux glow, a little color will help to hide imperfections like spider and varicose veins. Trust me, I know--because I’m an avid user of the stuff.
Self Tanning 101: How to Self Tan Like A Bronze Goddess
Feel a bit intimidated by the idea of self tanning? Don’t be. Formulas have improved tremendously over the years (QT, anyone?) and are easier to use than ever. Even the scent of the formulas have changed for the better! Here are a few easy-peasy steps to take to help get your glow on.
Prep Your Skin
First things first--you need to shower and exfoliate. Use a good scrub with a loofah to slough off dead and flaky skin--this will help to avoid any patchy, streaky color later. Pay extra attention to areas of your body that are prone to dryness, such as elbows, knees and ankles. For me, it's my toes!
Next, moisturize. I recommend using an in-shower moisturizer with ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil or almond oil. Another option would be a wet skin moisturizer, which you apply straight out of the shower. This is the one I use because it's easy and it smells fantastic.
Apply When You're Dry
Apply self tanner when your skin is completely dry. This will help to avoid those dreaded streaks. Note: being nervous about applying color and only using a little on a large area will ALSO lead to streaking, so while I don't suggest you be generous, I also don't recommend being stingy with the color, either.
Use a mitt to apply color, never use your bare hands. This was one of the biggest mistakes I made when I first started fake baking, oh lawd. The color stains so fast and is near impossible to wash off palms! Also, apply color butt naked, or at least near naked. I do leave my panties on when I fake bake, but otherwise I’m completely nude. Is that TMI? Anyway, who cares--my point is you don't want to get this schmutz on your nice clothes, because although it's never happened to me, it can stain, and that sucks.
Choose Your Formulation
My best suggestion when it comes to choosing an actual self tanning product to use is to find a formulation that is tinted enough for you to see where it's been applied. Personally, I use a mousse or foam formulation with color. Mousses and foams tend to go on easily and dry quickly, which is primo when it comes to fake baking.
A Flawless Application
Use upward, circular motions when applying, your self tanner and make sure the entire area is completely covered. Don’t be scared to go back and rebuff if you miss a spot or think an area is too patchy. Remember, this is temporary color--anything you apply--wrong or right--will fade within a few days.
Wait until your self tanner is completely dry before getting dressed, because as I mentioned, it could stain your clothes. I generally apply my color after a shower and before bed, so that I can putter around my bedroom ½ naked while drying. Once dry, I’ll put on a pair of old or dark colored pajamas and let the color develop while I'm asleep.
If you want to self tan your face (I do!), use a formulation specific for that area. The pH on your face is higher and your tan may develop darker. Formulations made specifically for the face will have less DHA (the active ingredient in self-tanners) than body formulations. Apply much like you would a body formulation, using upward, circular motions.
Tip/Trick: Your tan too deep? Apply baby oil for ten minutes, then exfoliate with a damp wash cloth before rinsing off. It should help to fade the color.
Test The Waters
Don’t want to commit to a self tanner? Test the waters with a wash-off tanner, such as Sally Hansen Airbrushed Legs Tanning Mousse. It’ll bronze your skin instantly and washes right off with soap and water. You can also use a gradual tanner like Jergens Daily Glow which puts you in control--use it everyday to reach max glow, or every other day to keep that sun kissed look.
Another option for smaller areas (such as your decolletage) and touch ups is to apply a bronzing powder. You can sculpt collar bones and contour cleavage and cheekbones with a loose or pressed bronzer. This NYX Matte Bronzer is available in five different shades.
Tip/Trick: No facial tanner? Here’s what I do: Dilute your body formula with facial moisturizer and apply!
As you can see, self tanning is relatively easy to do with a fantastic payoff, and it doesn't take hours at the salon or the beach risking skin cancer, either. Just follow these easy steps and you'll get glowing in no time!